7.0/10
18,010
194 user 78 critic

Playing by Heart (1998)

Trailer
0:26 | Trailer
Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in Los Angeles.

Director:

Willard Carroll

Writer:

Willard Carroll
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Angelina Jolie ... Joan
Dennis Quaid ... Hugh
April Grace ... Valery
Patricia Clarkson ... Allison
Gena Rowlands ... Hannah
Sean Connery ... Paul
Gillian Anderson ... Meredith
Christian Mills Christian Mills ... Phillip
Kellie Waymire ... Jane
Madeleine Stowe ... Gracie
Anthony Edwards ... Roger
Ellen Burstyn ... Mildred
Jay Mohr ... Mark
Tim Halligan ... Cook Show Director
Michael Emerson ... Bosco
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Storyline

Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in Los Angeles. Paul produces Hannah's television cooking show, and they must move beyond gentle barbs when she wants to know about an affair of his years ago. Mark is dying of A.I.D.S., and his mother comes to his bedside: they must speak truthfully. Men have scalded Meredith, so she rebuffs Trent's charm, but he persists. The trendy, prolix Joan tries to pull the solitary Keenan into her orbit: why is he reluctant? An adulterous couple meets at hotels for evening sex, but she is unwilling for the relationship to grow. Hugh tells tall tales, usually tragic, to women in bars. By the week's end, their parallel stories converge. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The comedy with a twist. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

If They Only Knew See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,669, 3 January 1999

Gross USA:

$3,970,078

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,970,078
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the final movie to receive the "Two Thumbs Down" from critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. See more »

Goofs

Although Joan's cat is called Blanche and is consistently referred to as "she", the actual animal is a male (tomcat). See more »

Quotes

Hannah: And you really didn't sleep with her?
Paul: No, of course not.
Hannah: And - you didn't want to sleep with her.
Paul: Oh, God, yes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening scenes introducing the major characters list their character names with subtitles, but not the actors/actresses who are portraying them. See more »

Alternate Versions

Trailer includes scenes of sexual encounter between Anthony Edwards and Madeline Stowe. See more »

Connections

References The Crying Game (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucius Lu
(1952)
Written by Phil Urso (as P. Urso)
Performed by Chet Baker
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
A Division of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from EMI Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A very enjoyable surprise
13 February 2003 | by khatcher-2See all my reviews

When I checked this one out on IMDb before watching it I was firstly surprised by the cast: how do you get all those well-known actors in a film which seemed very unprepossessing and might be considered a `sleeper', made by a practically unknown director? Apart from a couple of films in the late 80s and a number of films for video with perfectly unappetising titles, Willard Carroll did not seem to be a promise living up to the great cast he assembled for this film.

How wrong can you be! An excellent drama with real life issues is presented in a more live theatre style than the heart-tugging overplayed resources of more banal cinema productions. I mean, what bad luck that such a pretentious over-hyped `American Beauty' (qv) for instance, receives an avalanche of undeserved accolades, while this little gem just passes by, relatively unknown. In `Playing by Heart' you have a natural well played-out series of events without any of the overladen bombastics so frequent in American cinema. Excellent interpretations here – among the best I have seen of Sean Connery, and Gena Rowlands is his perfect counterpart. Full marks for interpretation to Gillian Anderson, Jay Mohr, Dennis Quaid, Ellyn Burstyn just wonderful, as is Madeleine Stowe, and Ryan Phillipe; and it is the first film in which Angelina Jolie is not appearing only to show off her indisputable charms, as she is wont, but to play her first really convincing rôle without flashing unnecessarily her anatomy all over the place.

So, evidently, full marks to Willard for piecing together all these elements to bring out what is indeed a very enjoyable surprise. Most certainly a film to see again. My only quibble is that perhaps the last ten minutes or so did not quite live up to expectations: however I would not say that this factor spoils any of the impressions made during the rest of the film.

My vote is a little higher than the IMDb User Rating.


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